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Dr Kate Schreckenberg

Dr Kate Schreckenberg


Reader of Development Geography



Tel: 020 7848 8759

Bush House NE 6.06






Dr Kate Schreckenberg (BSc Oxford 1986, MSc Oxford 1987, PhD SOAS 1996) has research expertise in natural resource governance, with a focus on community-based resource management and equity in the context of ecosystem services. Kate’s career began working for the German Sahelian Programme in Burkina Faso (1987-8), UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme (1988-91) and the World Forestry Institute in Hamburg (1991-94). From 1996 she worked for the Overseas Development Institute until joining Southampton University (2009-17). From Feb 2017 to June 2018 she was seconded as Director of the UK’s £43m Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Programme, coordinating the synthesis of over 120 projects and ensuring an effective programme legacy. Kate has 30 years’ experience of research and policy advice in the developing world including fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Latin America, mostly on multi-disciplinary and multi-country collaborative research projects. She is an experienced project manager. In the past 20 years, she has been involved as a PI or Co-I on research projects worth over £9million, with funding from NERC, ESRC, DFID, Leverhulme Trust, DEFRA, Ford Foundation, IDRC and Care International. Kate serves as a trustee of the International Tree Foundation

Research interests

I am an interdisciplinary researcher with a special interest in natural resource governance and the institutional arrangements that deliver equitable and just development. I work predominantly with mixed methods, including participatory research techniques, value chain approaches, household surveys and natural resource inventories. My early research on forests and livelihoods focused on commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and livelihoods, which I explored with projects in Benin, Bolivia & Mexico, and Nepal & India. This led to work on the domestication of indigenous fruit trees from the forest to the farm in Cameroon and Nigeria, and on the potential of trees in farming systems to contribute to the conservation of dry forest tree species in Honduras and Mexico.

More recently I was part of the leadership team of the interdisciplinary ASSETS project, which investigated food security at the forest-agriculture interface in three case study areas (Malawi, Peru and Colombia). In parallel with my work on trees on farms, I also undertook research on different approaches to natural resource governance, including collaborative forest management (with field work in Kenya, Tanzania and Nepal) and institutional options for verification in the forest sector, tackling issues of illegal logging and sustainable forest management. This led to a growing interest in how to address the concept of equity within the context of ecosystem services, with a particular focus on forest carbon projects including fieldwork in Uganda. Recently I was jointly responsible for the institutions work package of the P4GES project which investigated whether capturing global ecosystem service values (i.e. biodiversity and carbon sequestration) can reduce poverty for communities located around a new protected area in Madagascar.

Working together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the University of East Anglia, I developed a framework for assessing equity in and around protected areas which has been included in voluntary guidance to the Convention on Biological Diversity on governance and equity in protected areas. 

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising PhDs that are broadly in the field of natural resource governance. Given the globalised nature of resource governance issues, I am happy to supervise research anywhere in the world although my field experience is predominantly in the global South. Topics of particular interest to me include:

  • Ecosystem services – trade-offs and synergies
  • Forests and livelihoods
  • Community management of resources
  • Conservation policy, with a particular focus on equity and justice
  • Multi-level governance 

Please visit my Research Profile for a full list of publications.

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